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Hugo Ortega’s Xochi Is One of the Country’s Best New Restaurants

The hits just keep coming for the James Beard Award winner

Cocktail that is orange Courtesy of Xochi
Amy McCarthy is a staff writer at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

After winning a James Beard Award earlier this year, Eater roving critic Bill Addison has named Chef Hugo Ortega’s Xochi one of the best new restaurants in the country.

In Addison’s latest yearly round-up of the country’s finest newly-opened eateries, Xochi has earned a spot on the list. It’s yet another accolade for the chef, who took home the James Beard Award for Best Chef - Southwest earlier this year, and his namesake restaurant Hugo’s landed a spot on Addison’s list of the country’s 38 essential restaurants back in December.

Check out what the critic had to say about Xochi:

Ignore the beige corporate blandness of the Marriott Marquis lobby that houses Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught’s latest — and arguably greatest — restaurant. Once you’re settled into the calming dining room, the meal becomes kaleidoscopic in its evocation of place — which isn’t H-Town but Oaxaca, with its prisms of moles and its masa-based specialties shaped into myriad geometries. In the specificity of dishes and the calibration of earthy, sweet, and gently spicy flavors, Ortega’s cooking is as exhilarating as any of the swank Oaxacan restaurants trending in Mexico City. A few keywords to seek out on Xochi’s menu: memelas (a thicker tortilla cradling roasted pork rib), tetela (blue-masa triangles filled with house-made cheese), and molotes (crisp oval cakes swathed in creamy and spicy sauces). Lunch service stands equal to dinner in excellence, a rare feat these days.

The only other Texas restaurant to appear on the list is Kemuri Tatsu-ya, the Austin-based sister spot to Ramen Tatsu-ya. Just in case any further proof was required that Houston is finally earning its due as one of the country’s finest food cities.